So now that you know how to implement strategy 3, Make a Plan, we’ll move on to strategy number 4, Less is More. I strongly suggest that on your website and on every web page, you consider doing less than your first inclination which is usually overly complicated.
Focus on Simple Design and Consistent Content
There should be less stuff on the page, you should have fewer rather than more calls to action, you should have less rather than more navigation elements, you should have very focused content, not content that talks about lots of different things but content that has focused on a specific subject on each page.
Don’t Have Competing Call-to-Action Elements
The reason why you want fewer calls to action is because your calls to action should be effective, they should be powerful, they should be compelling. When you put more than one compelling call to action on a page, what you do is you dilute both of them by making them try to compete with each other to get the attention of the reader.
I know you may want to offer people more than one thing to do but if you’re going to do that, you need to offer that on different pages.
You shouldn’t have more than one call to action on a page, you’ve got an implicit call to action which is “Explore My Site” and then you’ve got some other call to action whether it’s “Call Me on the Phone”, “Email Me for a Quote”, “Ask Me a Question Via this Form”, “Schedule an Appointment with our Appointment Scheduler”. Where ever it is there should only be a single call to action on a page so that there’s no competition for that call.
Limit the Number of Navigation Elements
Fewer navigation elements means that it’s easier for people to make decisions about where to go. If you have lots of navigation elements on your site, then it is more difficult for a person to decide what to look at and since it’s more difficult for them to make a decision, they’re less likely to take action.
Let’s compare this idea to two different kinds of restaurants. We have a restaurant in Seattle Washington area called Dick’s Drive-In and Dick sells 4 different kinds of burgers, 3 different kinds of milkshakes and 2 different sizes of fries, that’s the end of their menu.
It’s just those simple number of elements and there are a lot of Dick’s Drive-In’s here in the Seattle area but they’re always people are standing in line. Their burgers are fine but they’re not the most amazing burger in the world but people know what they’re going to get when they get there.
On the other hand, one of my favorite restaurants in the world is the restaurant down in Palm Springs that must have 300 items on their menu and it takes forever to decide what I’m going to order because everything looks so good.
Well, they can afford to have me take a long time sitting in their restaurant to make a decision but you can afford to make somebody make a lot of decisions in navigation on your site because they’re not there to spend a long time trying to figure something out. So, you want to be more like Dick’s Drive-In in your navigation and less like Manhattan in the Desert, less is more.
Keep Emphasized Text to a Minimum
Also, you want less emphasis. I’ve had some members I have simply not been able to communicate this to. I’ve told them over and over again, you should have less bold text, you should have less bright red text, you should have less big centered text.
If the entire page is bold, centered, bright red text, then it doesn’t mean anything, it may as well not be emphasized at all. If you’re always shouting then shouting has no effect. So if you should consider shouting, it should be a spice to be added sparingly to a page, not constantly throughout page.
You want to give your users less decisions to make, that’s especially the case in online stores. You don’t want to pick a t-shirt and then have to pick a size and then next have to pick a color and then next have to pick a sleeve length and then next have to pick whether it’s tall or not.
You want to limit the number of decisions that people have to make because the more decisions they have to make, the less likely they are to finish making those decisions.
Shopping Process should be Simple with Few Steps
Again, you should have only the necessary steps in your process. So if you’ve got a shopping cart, you should get to the shipping calculation page and the text calculation is the final calculation page as quickly as you possibly can. And in many cases, you shouldn’t have a shopping cart but instead you should have a “Buy Now” button. Once someone has made a decision to buy this thing from you, a Buy Now button allows them to just click on that button and go buy it.
My Personal Example
Less steps in the process means more completions of that process and less shopping cart abandonment. Limit the number of decisions that are actually made. I learned this the hard way a couple of years ago back when I thought that maybe I should create different choices for how to subscribe to my site.
I thought some people might just want to watch videos and not engage in the other elements, so I offered a video only option. And I thought maybe somebody doesn’t care about the videos at all, maybe all they want is plugins so I offered that option. And I had some other tweaks as well.
I took the 3 choices that I had and turned it into 5 or 6 and as soon as I did that sales plummeted. I think the reason was that all those decisions made it hard to decide which option they should choose. So they could easily say, I’ll think about that later and then they click away and then they don’t come back.
As soon as I took it back to my original 3 options on the site, sales went back up again. It was just too many options for somebody to make a decision to buy a membership in BYOBWebsite so less options can be very important.
In this idea of less is more, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it. So just because you can start music, when somebody goes to your web page, doesn’t mean you should do it. Just because you can make a text blink and flash, doesn’t mean you should do it. There are many many things that some people would say you can do to add interest that I would say often clutter the site. Remember less is more in this context.